The Kubb is a game that resembles bowling, bowling and “horseshoes”. You can play it on grass, sand, snow, cement or ice. The version currently played was born on the island of Gotland, Sweden; the rules vary but the ultimate goal of the game is always to overthrow the kubbs on the opposite side with sticks and throwing down the “king” before your opponent. This feature, combined with the fact that you need a certain level of strategy, led fans to nickname the game “Viking chess“.
In fact, according to the “legend” this game was a popular pastime among Vikings, and during the Middle Ages it was played with Vedkubbar (cut wood) from which comes the name Kubb, (brick, wood) and it is said that the Hanseatic League during the fourteenth century made the game spread rapidly in Germany, France and England. Unfortunately we do not have evidence of this fascinating origin: in fact the Föreningen Gutnisk Idrott (Society of games of Gotland), created in 1912, does not list the Kubb between traditional games and news related to the game appear only since the twentieth century. But the key feature of Kubb – two opposing teams of launchers – is shared by the games kyykkä and bunnock, both coming from the Karelia region and surrounding areas.
In its modern form the Kubb became popular in 1990 when the first set of the game appeared on the market. It collects international interest: an annual world championship is held in Gotland and major tournaments are organized since 1999 and can be found throughout Europe (including Italy) and the United States; perhaps the primacy of the Old World is up to Belgium, with over fifty tournaments held in 2012.
Some details: the game is a battle field, with two fronts, consisting of five soldiers each facing each other and fight for the King is made up of 17 pieces: one king, 10 kubb, 6 sticks launch. The regular field is 8×5 meters, but you can also play on a smaller area. The minimum number is two players and it is recommended that no more than six participants per team (if possible in equal numbers). Games have a duration ranging from a few minutes to over an hour.
In 2008, the Italian Kubb Group has experienced and adopted the little kubb, specifically for young people aged 6 to 14 years: it is played with 3 kubb per team and 4 launch sticks.
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